With limited user charges, Civil Hospital Ludhiana has recruited 12 class four employees who have started working in mother and child hospital on an average Rs 6,000 per month salary. They have been appointed on ad hoc basis. It needs to be mentioned that health minister Surjit Kumar Jayani had instructed the civil surgeons across the state to recruit some staff from user charges of civil hospitals so as to meet the immediate staff shortage.
Civil hospitals said that user charges are already bare minimum and have to be utilised in various other categories as well and hence there is not much scope to give regular salaries. Ludhiana Civil Hospital collects user charges around Rs 15 lakh per month from patient for various services such as OPD slip fee, bed charges, charges for investigations, operation etc which is very less as compared to private hospitals.
Of these, more than 70% of the amount is spent in giving salaries to staff, expenses of blood bank and many other miscellaneous expenses are also done from the same charges only. So recruitment cannot be done at a large scale from this fund, hospital sources said. They are also waiting for more staff nurses and doctors to be sent by health department to meet the patient-doctor ratio. Medical SP, civil hospital Ludhiana, Dr Renu said, “Though we have lots of expenditures to meet from the user charges, we will manage as we have to beat the staff crunch.”
Similar is the situation in other hospitals of the state where user charges are bare minimum. Y K Gupta, civil surgeon Ferozepur said, “We have instructed senior medical officers of all civil hospitals that they can call a private specialist in case of emergency, if we have any shortage, he/she can be paid out of the user charges.”